Commentary: Veterans say Secretary Shinseki not doing enough

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Paulson vs Shinseki
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Veterans would benefit from a similar performance for VA funding as what Hank Paulson pulled off in 2008 to fund U.S. and international banking. I created this video comparison for veterans to review.

Last Wednesday, it surfaced that Secretary Shinseki has not met with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) to discuss the Senate’s failure let VA funding be debated on the floor.

On Monday, I took a quick social media survey of veterans. 99% of veterans said the Secretary should do more. Specifically, he should talk with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid about VA’s lack of funding to pay veterans benefits.

During the hearing, Shinseki was asked if he has spoken with Senate leadership (Harry Reid) about funding VA. He danced around the answer for a minute, highlighting that “Congress” needs to do something. Eventually, he concluded by saying he has not spoken with Senator Reid.

Shinseki’s initial statement is a red herring since a casual viewer would conclude that Congress has done nothing. Meanwhile, the House side of Congress has done something. The House has passed two bills that fund VA. It is the Senate side of Congress that refuses to even debate VA funding. This lack of action allows veterans to be used as a political football.

In response, House Republicans held Shinseki’s feet to the fire by pointing out that the House had in fact passed numerous bills that would fund VA fully through 2014.

Over four months earlier, the House has unanimously voted to support such legislation. However, Senator Reid has refused to bring the bill to the floor for debate.

Procedurally, the Senate Leader sets the calendar for what the Senate will deliberate over. Here, Senator Reid has refused to let the VA funding bill see the light of day.

After the hearing, I decided to research whether or not it was appropriate for a Cabinet Level Agency Head to address Congress directly.

I did not have to look any further than 2008. That is when Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson lobbied both the House and Senate to pass TARP to bail out banks.

Some of you may remember that Paulson marched across Capitol Hill to gain support from the House and the Senate to give him a blank check. He called the blank check a “bazooka” that he was going to use to calm the nerves of investors.

Since we did it for banks, I’m unclear as to why Shinseki will not rise to the occasion to broker a deal for veterans in the same manner as Paulson.

If Paulson got a blank check for banks, can’t Shinseki get veterans a specific check amount – an amount that does not cost over $700 billion dollars?

Sources:

Video from the House Committee of Veterans Affairs & the documentary “Hank”.

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5 Comments

  1. How did this guy become a general? I thought leadership was a requirement, in which I don’t see anywhere in this video!

  2. You should probably highlight the fact that Paulson took the job to avoid taking a tax hit on his personal income. (here: http://www.forbes.com/2006/06/01/paulson-tax-loophole-cx_jh_0602paultax.html). He wielded a whole lot more power than Shinseki ever will. The finance sector is what makes this economy flow and what finances congressional campaigns. The House would rather play political chicken than take care of anything that would cost them their seats, all while saying “we support the troops”.

  3. Instead, a much more effective and speedier action would be for an executive decision to impose martial law and deputize veterans to arrest and charge the republicans that voted for the shutdown with sediton and treason with a quick summary court martial and a public execution as a warning to all tea party,republicans,GOP and so called conservatives that accepting bribes,payola and kickbacks from foreign,transnational and multi-national corporate masters will not be tolerated!!!

  4. Your video’s premise that Shinseki COULD BE LIKE a Paulson but refuses to do so shows Obama predilection to keep him deliberately powerless so that Obama can continue to use veterans as political leverage in whatever manufactured crisis is before him.

    You are also forgetting what happens if a general does not follow Obama’s orders – THEY GET FIRED!

    http://news.investors.com/ibd-editorials/101513-675217-obama-fires-two-nuclear-military-commanders.htm

    The shameful treatment of our veterans during this government shutdown by Obama is only a vile taste of things to come, I fear…

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